THE BORNING ROOM by Paul Fleischman
Kirkus Star

THE BORNING ROOM

Age Range: 11 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

From an innovative, highly talented novelist and poet (Joyful Noise, 1989 Newbery Award), a quiet cycle of episodes from the life of Georgina Lott, born on her father's Ohio farm in 1851 and eventually revealed to be narrating from her deathbed in the same little room, 67 years later. Meanwhile, other births and deaths have occurred there in the "borning room." Zeb is brought into the world with the help of an escaping slave whom Georgina has hidden without her parents' knowledge, hoping--at eight--to save them from the dire penalties for harboring a runaway. Grandfather, who loved the maple still visible through the window and who once shook hands with Franklin (whose pithy sayings the family enjoys), dies in peace despite the harassment of a zealous preacher. With an inexperienced doctor and a new drug (chloroform), Mama dies in childbirth, but the child survives--then and later, during a diphtheria epidemic. When she marries, Georgina recalls her mother, planning to "raise my children to love the words and music and to oppose injustice. I would bring her hack to life by becoming her." Soon after, she bears a daughter. Memorable characters and valuable glimpses of social history in a beautifully crafted novel. More important, there's much to ponder: the powerful continuity of talents, values, and ideas that can link generations; the real basics, life and death, habitually concealed in contemporary America. Not showy, but deeply rewarding. (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-023762-7
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991




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